March 14, 1910

CON

Angus Claude Macdonell

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. MACDONELL.

Chapter 16 of the Exportation of Fluid Act of 1907 provides for licenses to export power and unless this company is prohibited from exporting its power it has the right to apply for a license to the Governor in Council under the Act of 1907, and if there is no good reason why it should not get a license it will doubtless get one. There is no attempt made to say that this company shall be prohibited from exporting this power, and if it applies for a license no doubt it will be given the right to export its surplus. Let me point out the unwisdom of allowing our power to be exported. Let me refer to the condition that existed at Niagara Falls many years ago, a condition of affairs that we are now repeating on the St. Lawrence river. The International Waterways Commission found that they had developed power on the American side largely in excess of their right according to the flow of water, but having regard to the establishment of industries and vested rights they divided the power over the whole river by giving to Canada some 36,000 horse-power, and giving about 20,000 horse-power to the American side, whereas, if it had been dealt with on a proper basis, the American side would not have been entitled to more than one-sixth of the total power that could be developed as less than one-sixth of the water flowed over the American side. What has happened there will happen here, and history will repeat itself. You will have the water and power diverted to the American side, or you will have the power exported to the American side, and the Americans will get a great deal more than they are entitled to. Ultimately when the question comes up to be dealt with as an international question our rights will be sacrificed, and we will get the small end of the horn, and not what we are entitled to. It is claimed that we are obstructing because we are going on record as being in favour of protecting the interests of the people as against this

corporation which is seeking to be incorporated at the public expense for its own private interest and advantage. The Minister of Agriculture has made the startling statement that this House has a perfect right to incorporate a company, and give that company the right to expropriate the domain of any province. He justifies that by saying that the company may have to run across the bed of some provincial stream, and they should have the right to expropriate there. Does that justify the sweeping power given to this company to expropriate the public domain of Ontario throughout nine counties along the St. Lawrence from Kingston to Montreal? Ii the Bill is only intended to give the right to expropriate the river bed here and there whv not say so?

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CON

Alexander McCall

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. A. McCALL.

I musi discuss this Bill on the assumption that there is an intention to dam the St. Lawrence. That may not appear in this Bill, but it does in the Bill of 1901. I think it is clear that in time a dam will be erected across the St. Lawrence; that will be found to be the joker, the little elusive pea that is under the shell. We all agree that the St. Lawrence is one of our great national assets. It drains the, Great Lakes and'forms the only natural outlet for the trade of the best part of the north American continent. The Americans would give untold wealth if they could acquire the exclusive right to navigate the St. Lawrence from the lakes to the ocean. That is our great privilege, and we ought not to consent to put the slightest hindrance to the free flow of the trade that properly belongs to our great water route. So jealous are the American authorities on the subject that a proposal to build a bridge across the Detroit river was rejected at Washington, and the railways had to spend $12,000,000 to tunnel the river. The proposal to build a dam at the foot of Lake Erie, near Buffalo, to maintain the waters of the lake at standard level, has been rejected for fear of causing an ice jam with consequent flooding of the land bordering the lake and the checking of the flow of the Niagara river.

The building of such a dam as this on the SJ. Lawrence river would put a stop to the carriage of rafts of timber down the St. Lawrence, and it would destroy one of the great scenic attractions of the St. Lawrence river, the shooting of the rapids, which would be a very serious loss from a sentimental point of view.

The Welland canal is admittedly one of our greatest national assets. It has been enlarged three times, and the Minister of Railway and Canals proposes a still further enlargement. That would mean an enlargement and deepening of the St. Lawrence canals, but it is more likely that if this

dam is erected it will be found a serious obstruction in the enlargement of those canals, as the water supply might be affected and currents caused that did not before exist. The whole condition will be changed by this scheme of spoliation. By means of our great water routes we have it within our power to draw the trade of half of the north American continent, a trade which now taxes the American shipping interests and railroads. All that is open to us with a proper system of water transportation. Moreover, it is within the range of possibilities that ocean vessels will soon find their way up the lakes. We are face to face with the possibility of difficulties in connection with our coal supply from the United States. In connection with the discussion of tariff matters now pending there may be a difficulty in adjusting the question of duties. We are all looking forward to utilizing our own coal supply in Nova Scotia so as to make it serve the lake ports and the northwest. To do all this we require the unobstructed navigation of the St. Lawrence. This is a larger question than one of a week's discussion. It is much larger than the question of the transmission of power to a number of large towns. It should be considered from a national point of view. Hon. gentlemen should not consent to the alienation of this most valuable asset of the nation which we have in the St. Lawrence river. From every point of view we should not consider for a moment the possibility of an obstruction being placed in that waterway. If we agree in all this, can we not get together on this question? I am willing, in conclusion, to propose that we call this debate off and get out and have an old-fashioned game of snow-ball before the snow disappears-and I invite my friend Mr. Loggie to be my opponent in a friendly game-and we will come back on another day and dispose of this matter quickly.

Mr. HUGHES This morning three ministers were appealed to in succession by one of the hon. members on this side of the House, and each of them gave the clearest possible reason why this Bill should be postponed immediately. The Minister of Agriculture, in answer to the query what he thought of the Bill, stated that before he could answer he required to consider the Bill; the Minister of Labour stated that before he could express an opinion, he would require to consider the whole discussion ; and the Minister of the Interior stated that the question involved matters which had taken up twelve or fourteen hours of discussion, and he wanted more light. I appeal to the Minister of Militia, who is now leading the House, to comply with the very proper request of the leader of the opposition, that this Bill be laid over until fire plans can be looked into.

Committee divided on the question that the committee rise, report progress, and ask leave to sit again: Yeas, 32; nays, 34.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

When this Bill first came before the Private Bills Committee, it attracted very little attention. Very few on this side of the House suspected that there was anything behind it. Our suspicions were first aroused by seeing the great interest taken in it by certain gentlemen who were never known to attend the meetings of the Private Bills Committee at all. They were there early and late; they drummed up their friends and urged all sorts of arguments for the passing of the Bill. On one occasion thirty or forty men deserted one power scheme in the Railway Committee to float another through in the Private Bills Committee. The spectacle naturally excited the attention even of honest plodding Conservatives, and we-thought it our duty to commence an inquiry Then suspicion grew, based on the rumour that behind this scheme was the plan to dam the St. Lawrence river, and hand over the entire water-power to this- grasping corporation of American trusts. I was amazed to see the determined interest taken in that Bill by the government. I strolled in, not expecting anything special on, but when I saw the activity of five or six ministers of the Crown in pushing through this private Bill, I began to suspect, to use an Americanism, that there was a nigger in the wood pile. The Minister of Public Works in a moment of excitement gave the whole story away. He frankly admitted that there was a connection between the two Bills, the St. Lawrence Power Company, and the St. Lawrence Power and Transmission Company. He admitted that he had been waited upon repeatedly during the la3t two years in the interest of that Bill, that this company had come to him and had shown him the plans for damming the St. Lawrence, and had talked the whole matter over with him, and he admitted that the two Bills were one and the same thing. Up to that time we had confined our efforts to preserving the rights of the province of Ontario. We asked the Minister of Public Works to let the Bill stand over until we could obtain information on certain matters, and that we might look more carefully into it. That was refused, they point blank refused to take, anything short of the passage of the entire Bill. Well, the Minister of Public Works saw that he could not carry his point. Then, as the night wore on, these gentlemen agreed to compromise the matter if we would pass the preamble, and all the clauses, leaving one to be reserved for discussion. We very properly rejected that proposition. We were determined then that before this Bill should go through the plans of that dam should be brought down, and we would see what was behind it all. I am sure that there is nothing that any Mr. HUGHES.

fair minded man on the government side could object to in the position we took. Then what was the next step on the programme? Two of these gentlemen from Ontario, the province that was being robbed of her natural resources, commenced in their usual manner to try and shove this matter through. They found that did not work. So in the small hours of the morning the government came to their senses, and another proposition was made that section 1 should be passed, and all the rest should stand over for consideration. But since we had been denied an opportunity to see the plans, we decided to reject that proposition. Our duty to our constituents demanded that we should get to the bottom of this whole matter. I see before me now three ministers who were not here during the night, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Labour, and the Minister of the Interior. Have they heard the reasons why this matter should be adjourned? I am sure the Secretary of State will join them in a desire for more light on this matter. I regard this as a most dangerous measure in the interests of the peace and good relationship which should exist between this country and the United States. I feel satisfied that if the Minister of Militia will only give my hon. friend the leader of the opposition a definite statement that these plans will be brought down we will be prepared to end this matter by the passage of section 1.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

I would not venture to give an assurance because I have not been here during the debate and I am not familiar with it at all, but I understand that the Minister of Public Works did make some offer during the debate.

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

The Minister of Public Works did offer to bring the plans down, but he insisted that the Bill should go through. Later in the night he changed his tactics.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Would the hon. gentleman again state that?

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L-C

Samuel Hughes

Liberal-Conservative

Mr. HUGHES.

I have no doubt that the leader of the opposition-and I believe he speaks for the entire party on this side-will accept the assurance of the minister that the plans will be laid on the table and in case that would be done we would be competent to pass clause 1.

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LIB

Frederick William Borden (Minister of Militia and Defence)

Liberal

Sir FREDERICK BORDEN.

Would the opposition be willing to allow section 1 to pass? I am not able to state as to the plans.

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L-C
CON

Samuel Simpson Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. S. SHARPE.

The hon. member for Stormont (Mr. Smith) said that the plans were in the possession of everybody, that they were published.

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LIB

Frederick Forsyth Pardee (Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. PARDEE.

Did he not say that they are not in the minister's office, but that they are in the possession of the Waterways Commission?

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CON
LIB
CON

Samuel Simpson Sharpe

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. S. SHARPE.

You cannot reach the conclusion of the consideration of this Bill before the expiration of a couple of days.

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CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

I may say to the Minister of Militia that the difficulty originated in the very unreasonable attitude which was taken by the Minister of Finance who was leading the House last evening. I do not know whether it was his own view', but certainly he expressed it. There had been a very interesting and instructive discussion of this Bill. The opposition to it was not on party lines. The strongest attack upon the Bill was made by the hon. member for Westmorland, and a somewhat similar attack wlas made by the hon. member for Assiniboia. There was nothing to indicate a desire for anything except to ascertain all the facts, to get at the bottom of the project, and in the course of the debate the Minister of Public Works referred to certain plans and stated the purport of the plans that had been submitted to him. I asked the Minister of Public Works to lay the plans on the table of the House and I suggested at one o'clock, about an hour after the usual time of adjournment, that it was time for the committee to rise and report progress. The Minister of Finjance did not acquiesce in that view for some reason which I cannot apprehend. It was a most reasonable request. The request was rejected and the discussion went on. A little later a gentleman on the other side of the House intimated that it was the intention to sit until Saturday unless the opposition were prepared to give Way. That is the whole situation.

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LIB
CON

Robert Laird Borden (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. R. L. BORDEN.

Well, I feel that I h ave got a good deal already, but I would be quite glad to get more. I want to know whether the minister intends to lay these plans on the table of the House. '

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I will be very frank with my hon. friend. I stated last night that I would be very glad indeed to lay the plans on the fable. The situation in regard t-o the plans is this: There was a joint

report made by the chief engineer of the Public Works Department, the chief engineer of the Department of Railways and Canals, and the chief engineer of the Department of Marine and Fisheries upon the amended plans. These plans were in charge of the late Deputy Minister of Railways 1745

and Canals, Mr. Butler. In accordance with the promise I made to my hon. friend I telephoned to the chief engineer of my department and I find that the plans are not in my department. Of course, they were submitted to the International Waterways Commission, but I am informed that it is not unlikely there is a copy of die plans in the Department of Railways and Canals. I have asked the deputy minister to see and, if they are available, I will have them this afternoon, and I will be very glad to lay them on the table of the House. If not I shall send to the chairman of the International Waterways Commission and get them here as soon as possible.

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CON

Richard Blain

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. BLAIN.

How many sets of plans were there in connection with the work altogether? ,

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LIB

William Pugsley (Minister of Public Works)

Liberal

Mr. PUGSLEY.

I only saw one set, which was submitted accompanied by the joint report.

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March 14, 1910